A recent BBC report “Brazil’s African Soul” on June 4 states that “African culture brought over during the slave trade still influences modern Salvador in myriad ways, from unique art forms to ongoing social struggles.”
This is not surprising at all; as Ana Lucia Araujo pointed out in her book Public Memory of Slavery: Victims and Perpetrators in the South Atlantic (p.39) that: “Enslaved Africans and Brazilian-born slaves preserved and disseminated African religions and traditions. In the urban areas of Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, and Minas Gerais, many of these men and women achieved freedom not through rebellion but by purchasing their freedom and joining Catholic brotherhoods.” According to estimates, in 1835 “two-thirds of Salvador’s population was black or ‘of color,’ and the number of slaves who were born in Africa was also very high. Most of these new Africans were Yoruba and Hausa; they shared Yoruba as a common language and Islam as a common religion and were captured during the wars opposing the Fulani and the states subjugated by the Kingdom of Oyo.” (p.103).
Knowing the history behind Brazil’s African Soul in critical in understanding why “the slave trade still influences modern Salvador in myriad ways, from unique art forms to ongoing social struggles.”
In his review of Araujo’s Public Memory of Slavery in the Journal of African History, eminent historian James H. Sweet lauded the book for being “an important and provocative work” and further added that “no other study so thoroughly chronicles the fraught and ambiguous history of memorializing slavery in the South Atlantic. Araujo’s ability to ‘read’ multiple sources–both discursive and non-discursive–makes the book truly interdisciplinary in scope. It will be a crucial starting point for all future studies of slavery and memory in Benin and Brazil.”
The book was a hot favorite at the LASA congress last month, given its immense value to scholars in African studies, Latin American studies, history, and slavery studies.
Browse this book now using the Cambria Press Free Preview Tool. A special 40% discount is currently on for all titles–use web coupon code LASA2014.
Your library can use this too, so please forward the code on. See also the Latin American studies catalog.
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